Dallas Cardenas first person convicted under Colorado's human trafficking law

Dallas Cardenas will serve eight years in prison for trafficking a seventeen-year-old girl and pimping an adult woman, the state attorney general's office announced today. Cardenas , twenty, of Denver, is the first person to be convicted under Colorado's human trafficking statute, which was adopted in 2006. A jury in Jefferson County found Cardenas guilty in June of coercing the females to charge $175 an hour for sex and keeping most of the money.

Mike Saccone, spokesman for the attorney general's office, says the office hopes this will be the first of many such convictions. Most other instances in which a person has been arrested for human trafficking have resulted in plea deals in which the accused pleads guilty to a lesser charge, he says. In this case, the attorney general's office took the case to trial -- and won. "It shows that the statute can effectively be prosecuted in court and put to a jury," Saccone says.

The statute defines human trafficking as selling, exchanging, bartering or leasing a person for money. Cardenas was convicted of forcing the two females to pose for sexually explicit photos, which he posted on Craigslist. The females were instructed to charge $150 for a half-hour and $175 for an hour for "out-calls" to hotels in Denver and Lakewood.

Read Cardenas's indictment below, as well as the indictment of his co-defendant Ryan Jenkins. Jenkins, 24, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor pandering for inducing a child to perform prostitution.

Cardenas Jenkins Indictment

More from our Colorado Crimes archives: "Christian & Theresa Laswell: Was Christian a pimp of child prostitutes or an escort driver?"

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar